American Solidarity Party Hopes for Breakthrough in New Hampshire Special Election

The American Solidarity Party had to be a little disappointed by the 0.5% showing for their nominee in a Wisconsin state senate election last week. The party will have another crack at the ballot box April 13 in a special election for a New Hampshire state house seat.

Republican Merrimack Town Councilor Bill Boyd and Democratic former state Rep. Wendy Thomas are facing off for the seat vacated in December by the untimely death – from COVID-19 – of 71-year-old Republican House Speaker Dick Hinch. It is one of 400 seats in the NH state house.

The Libertarian Party has enjoyed some past success with these NH legislative contests, which are usually lower budget affairs where grassroots campaigning can prevail. However, this year is a bit different as Democrats and Republicans from around the country have been dumping money into this race.

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas have both spoken at fundraisers for the Republican. Democratic and Republican PACs are also pouring outside money into direct mail and other outreach on behalf of their respective candidates.

Meanwhile, American Solidarity Party nominee Stephen Hollenberg has raised a far more modest war-chest.  He’s used part of that limited cash to send out a somewhat unusual mailer that presents “unbiased” and not negative information on *all three* active candidates:

https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=122928099800447&id=100728255353765

4 thoughts on “American Solidarity Party Hopes for Breakthrough in New Hampshire Special Election

  1. Jared

    “Real solutions for opioid crisis”

    Whatever that means, coming from a candidate for state legislature. I’d check Hollenberg’s website for details, but he appears not to have one. While I respect wanting to be fair to his rivals and refrain from negative campaigning, this mailer highlights his comparative weaknesses rather than showcasing his strengths.

    He needs some help marketing himself. e.g. His image should be enlarged, his column front and center instead of the Democrat. Lose “I believe” in the statement. It sounds insecure, weakens your voice, undermines your authority, and takes up valuable space. Avoid the first-person so it doesn’t sound like you’re all alone. Use actual bullet points instead of asterisks so it doesn’t look like you don’t know how to format text. On that note, a clean serif font would provide better legibility for print material. And because his first listed goals consume more lines than his last goals, it looks as though he started writing and ran out of space. Just a few simple ways the mailer could be improved.

    But I’m probably being overfastidious.

  2. Johno

    I hope he gets more than 194 votes that Mr. Schmitz got in Wisconsin last week. Maybe, after this election, he could run statewide and get ASP the same status as the LP in NH.

  3. Stephen Hollenberg

    Hi Jared,

    Thanks for the helpful The truth is, I WAS all alone in this. Unlike my opponents with major party support, experienced state organizations, and skilled campaign manager, my campaign was me alone. I have no education or experience in marketing or graphic design so this was quite a task for me to pull this off. Honestly, knowing my lack of artistic ability, I was quite proud of how this mailer turned out!

    I had considered putting myself center, but figured people would read left to right so thought it was best to be the first one they read in case they stopped after that. I wanted to highlight my younger age and my family, compared to my much older opponents, which is why my photo was zoomed out.

    I had considered a website early on but I honestly didn’t know if I would get any campaign funds at all so cost was an issue for me and I opted for a free Facebook page instead and did my best to answer any questions I received about my platform.

    The asterisk and font were limitations of the free editing software I was using.

    Again, I appreciate your feedback and may do things different next time, but this was my first time and I was trying to figure everything out from scratch with minimal feedback from family before sending it out.

    There’s a huge difference between the way my campaign was run compared to my opponents, and I’m certainly proud of the effort I put forward despite the odds being so stacked against me.

  4. Jared

    Thanks for your reply, Stephen. My own ideological convictions are libertarian, but I have a soft spot for the Solidarity Party and the kind of communitarian culture they seek to promote.

    As far as a campaign website, it’s almost essential for a political candidate in this day and age, and collecting a mailing list is great if you want to run again so you can easily reach supporters of your previous campaign. You can get inexpensive shared web hosting, and discounts abound, especially if you only need it for a few months. Designing and building a professional-looking site with WordPress is pretty easy these days with the Gutenberg block editor, a free theme, and free plugins or a freemium page builder such as Elementor. Have a dedicated press kit page, and reach out to local media. Local reporters WANT stories, and they appreciate you making it easy for them.

    I realize not everybody has the budget for a marketing consultant or designer. My suggestion is to check out local colleges (a Catholic institution might be the natural place for a Solidarity candidate) and see if you can find graphic design students willing to contribute for free to expand their portfolios. They may not be savvy when it comes to political marketing, but they’ll have a more trained design sense and access to industry-standard graphical software to save you time and money.

    Your list of goals is kind of all over the place, so my advice is to pick three to become campaign pillars and run on them. Your other ideas and values can certainly have a place on your website and social media postings, but it’s best to prioritize the issues of greatest concern to your potential constituents that are within the purview of the office for which you’re running. Keep your points pithy and memorable, meaningful and attention-grabbing, and be sure to let people know where they can go for more details. As a third-party candidate, obscurity is your worst enemy—not criticism—so do whatever you can ethically to stand out and be noticed and get coverage.

    I know this is all unsolicited, and maybe you’ve heard it before, but you seem like a nice chap. Running for office (not just as a paper candidate) is draining enough. I can only imagine how tough it is running for office on a third-party ticket with family responsibilities and a shoestring budget. Best of luck.

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